OLIVER MEARS TO JOIN ROYAL OPERA HOUSE IN MARCH 2017
The Royal Opera House announced today that Oliver Mears will join the Royal Opera House at the beginning of March 2017 to succeed Kasper Holten as Director of Opera, who leaves on 11 March 2017.
Artistic Director of Northern Ireland Opera, Northern Ireland’s national company since its foundation in 2010, Oliver Mears has built up the company with a focus on excellence, local context, innovation and ambitious local and international partnerships. A champion of Northern Irish and Irish composers, the company has also been determined to build new audiences for the art form, taken the lead in creating work with communities across Northern Ireland and initiated the country’s first dedicated Young Artists Programme.
As a director he has staged productions for Northern Ireland Opera including Tosca – which won the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Opera in 2012 – L’elisir d’amore, Der fliegende Holländer – which was nominated for Achievement in Opera Award, Theatre Awards UK 2013 – Macbeth (with Welsh National Opera), Salome, Agrippina, Hansel and Gretel and The Turn of the Screw (also Novaya Opera, Moscow). His production of Noye’s Fludde featured as part of the London Cultural Olympiad before travelling to Beijing and Shanghai.
He has also directed productions for the Young Vic, Aldeburgh Music, Opera North, Nederlandse Reisopera, Pimlico Opera, Nevill Holt Opera, Scottish Opera and Bergen National Opera. As Artistic Director of Second Movement, he directed productions across London in site-specific venues, while his production of Martinů’s The Knife’s Tears for the company travelled to Brno and Prague as part of the 2010 Janáček Festival.
Announcing the appointment, Alex Beard, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House said: ‘I am delighted that Oliver Mears is to join the Royal Opera House. He has successfully established Northern Ireland Opera as an important part of the UK opera scene as its founding Artistic Director, conceiving and delivering a range of innovative and impressive projects on and beyond the stage. It’s a very exciting appointment.’
These sentiments were echoed by Antonio Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera: ‘I have been very impressed by Oliver Mears all through the selection process. He is fiercely intelligent, very knowledgeable about what is going on in the world of the performing arts, in particular theatre and opera, and he has genuine passion for our art form. I look forward to a very productive collaboration with him and wish him all success.’
Oliver Mears said ‘I have had a wonderful time at Northern Ireland Opera over the last six years and am proud of the company’s growth and artistic excellence. I’m thrilled to be joining The Royal Opera to work alongside Antonio Pappano, Peter Katona, Cormac Simms, John Fulljames and the team – we have already had some inspiring conversations and I look forward to the future working together.
Oliver Mears gained a Double First in English and History at Lincoln College, Oxford, and began his career assisting playwright Howard Barker. While working at many of the leading opera houses of the world including the Royal Opera House and La Scala, Milan, he became one of the founding Artistic Directors of London-based opera company Second Movement, directing many site-specific opera productions, including several UK stage premieres and a tour to Prague and Brno of Martinů’s The Knife’s Tears.
He has been Artistic Director of Northern Ireland Opera (Northern Ireland’s national company) since its foundation in 2010.
As director, he has staged many productions for Northern Ireland Opera including Tosca – which won the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Opera in 2012 – L’elisir d’amore, Der fliegende Holländer – which was nominated for an Achievement in Opera Award, Theatre Awards UK 2013 – Macbeth (with Welsh National Opera), Salome, Agrippina (winner of Best Production, Dublin Theatre Fringe Festival Awards), Hansel and Gretel and The Turn of the Screw. His production of Noye’s Fludde featured as part of the London Cultural Olympiad 2012 before travelling to festivals in Beijing and Shanghai, while his production of The Turn of the Screw travelled to the Buxton Festival and Novaya Opera, Moscow.
He has also directed productions for the Young Vic, Aldeburgh Music, Opera North, Nederlandse Reisopera Holland, Pimlico Opera, Nevill Holt Opera, Early Opera Company, Scottish Opera, the National Opera Studio, and Bergen National Opera. In 2012 he was nominated for an ‘Achievement in Opera’ award by the UK TMA Awards for his leadership of NI Opera, and was nominated in the ‘Best Newcomer’ (Director) category at the 2013 International Opera Awards.
Arabella Steinbacher in conversation with Michael Cookson, Dresden 2016
My first exposure to the playing of Munich born violinist Arabella Steinbacher was in 2011 when reviewing her recording of the Shostakovich violin concertos on Orfeo. http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2011/June11/Shostakovich_Steinbacher_C687061A.htm
A child prodigy on the violin Steinbacher started lessons aged 3 and 5 years later became the youngest violin student of Ana Chumachenko at the Munich Academy of Music. In 2000 Steinbacher won the Joseph-Joachim-Violinwettbewerbes Hannover when she was 19 and the Förderpreis des Freistaates Bayern a year later. In 2004 she made her concert debut playing at short notice for an indisposed soloist with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under Sir Neville Marriner in Paris.
Certainly a thrilling musician, Steinbacher has made an impressive reputation for herself with several excellent recordings under her belt. One of the finest violinists around compared to a group of talented soloists of her generation, curiously, she is not as well known as her talent deserves; especially in the U.K. Read more
JOHAN BOTHA (1965-2016) HAS DIED
Michael Lewin International Artists’ Management announces: This morning Johan Botha lost his battle against a severe illness.
For 23 years we have worked together with Johan Botha. His death not only means the loss of an irreplaceable artist but more importantly the indescribable loss of a great person. Read more
A free 24-hour MUSIC MARATHON at St John’s Smith Square for Open House Weekend –also includes a “Pay-per-Note: The People’s Piece” challenge
At 10am on Saturday 17 September, St John’s Smith Square opens its doors for Open House London Weekend 2016, inviting visitors to experience the stunning Baroque architecture while listening to and participating in musical activities.
There will be 24 hours of non-stop performance, open rehearsal and workshops from 10am on Saturday 17 September until 10am on Sunday 18 September. All events are free of charge and people are encouraged to drop in at any time to hear what’s happening. The schedule for the Music Marathon can be found on the St John’s Smith Square website at https://www.sjss.org.uk/events/24-hour-music-marathon
The London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by its new Principal Guest Conductor Gianandrea Noseda, will perform Verdi’s Requiem in the Barbican Hall on Sunday 18 September, opening the Orchestra’s 2016/17 London season. For the first time, the entire concert will be streamed live on the Orchestra’s YouTube channel, completely free, preceded by an insightful pre-concert programme from backstage at the Barbican on the LSO’s Facebook page. Read more
Leeds Lieder announces 2016-2017 concert series (and advance information about 2017 Festival)
In collaboration with partner organizations Opera North, University of Leeds, Leeds College of Music and BBC Radio 3, Leeds Lieder is delighted to announce its 2016-17 season of concerts. Read more
Looking Forward to the 11th Malcolm Arnold Festival (Northampton 15-16 October 2016)
Even if this year’s Proms remain a disappointment in some quarters (mine, for example) deserving yet largely unheard British music is doing fairly well. There’s a jangle of seasons and festivals crying out for attention: the William Alwyn around Aldeburgh (5-9 October 2016 – including the Third Symphony), the BBC Phil season at Salford Quays (7-16 September 2016 including the premiere of Arnold Cooke’s Sixth Symphony) and the professional premiere of Joubert’s opera Jane Eyre (Birmingham, 25 October 2016).
My first Malcolm Arnold Festival was last year (review review review) and I am pleased to be returning to cover this year’s two day event. As ever the 2016 event is packed with Arnold’s music and is fashioned around the theme of Arnold – Voice of the People. The programme, squeezed tight into two days, mostly at the Royal & Derngate, is remarkable. Read more
OXFORD LIEDER FESTIVAL 2016: THE SCHUMANN PROJECT
For the first time ever, all of Schumann’s songs will be performed at the Oxford Lieder Festival (14- 29 October 2016) together with an array of his other works, the complete songs of his wife Clara Schumann, and songs by his friends, contemporaries and successors. Featuring nearly 100 events, The Schumann Project will include some 40 song recitals, as well as piano and chamber music recitals, choral works, study events, film, readings, masterclasses and more. Read more